balsa/basswood articles

Concept Alpha Bridge

I was never able to fully develop and use this bridge. I got this idea from talking with a Science Olympiad coach in Ohio. Now I wish I had gone ahead and put more work into this. The next year, the bridge rules changed so that I could not use this concept. The trick was to get the arches to the perfect length, so that they barely fit into the loading device. I had made these arches a bit too […]


Dombiggers 1st bridge

A very nice looking Balsa wood bridge sent in from one of my readers. This bridge uses gussets and pin joints and spans 18 inches.


Fernbank Project: Strongest Bridge Design

I built this bridge for the 2005 Fernbank Science Center bridge design event. The bridge spanned 16 inches, weighed 37 grams, and held 346 pounds. That puts its efficiency over 4200! One commenter said, “So if this bridge weighed one pound, it could have held up my car.”


First Timer’s First Bridge Design

Hello everybody my name is First Timer and I had to make a balsa wood bridge with theses specs: 40.5 cm long, 11-12 cm wide 13-25 cm high, must have a span of 26 cm, peek of the span must be at least 9 cm, and this bridge could weigh no more than 16 grams


First Timer’s Second Bridge Design!

Hey guys it’s me again, First Timer. Taking the critiques you guys gave, I rebuilt the bridge. This was going to a county Science Fair which I think is pretty cool considering I started learning about bridges about 2 months ago. The specs of the bridge are


Garrett’s Second Bridge

Boy does this bridge bring back memories. I built this bridge in 2001, in the 7th grade. It was my first attempt at building a bridge on my own after building this bridge with my partner. I had wanted to make an arch bridge, much like the Booth Bridge, but I didn’t have the building skills to do join the arches in the middle. So I simply made an A frame bridge. I never knew how much it weighed as […]


Howe Truss Bridge

This bridge was definitely not my best, but it does bring back memories. It was the second bridge built by my old Science Olympiad Bridge Building partner, David, and I. As you can see, we were still in the beginning of our bridge building career. I assume David is still building bridges, as his father is an engineer. I have not seen him for several years. This bridge took 5th place at our regional tournament way back in 2001. It […]


I Beam Bridge

This was one of my earlier bridges. I built it after talking with my uncle, who is a mechanical engineer. He suggested that I try using an I-beam. This was a very good idea, but my construction skills at the time were not the best. In theory an I-beam is excellent for bridges, but I could not make it very well. I don’t know how much this bridge weighed, but it did not hold very much weight. I had problems […]


J.C. Booth State Bridge 2005

Here is the Science Olympiad bridge J.C. Booth built for the Georgia State Tournament in 2005. I don’t remember exactly what place it got, but am pretty sure in placed in the top 3. This bridges uses the typical design for that year, with slight modifications


Matt’s Balsa Bridge

We had some of our cousins spend the weekend with us. After the initial greetings, Matt asked me, “Can we go finish the bridge?” We had started building a bridge last year, when they came over to visit. Matt had finished one side of the bridge. While I did help him design it, Matt did most of the building. I would do a little bit and say, “This is how you do it,” and Matt would do the rest. We […]


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